Archive | February, 2015

MoviPrep: A Non-Theatrical Misnomer

13 Feb

Did you ever wonder about the guy who named the bowel prep medicine you take the day before your colonoscopy? I figure anybody who names that “A-bomb in a bottle” MoviPrep or GoLytely just has to have a sense of humor. He is, after all, responsible for the ultimate poop joke. Granted, his sense of humor almost certainly has to be a weird, fractured one … bordering on sadistic, & it’s obvious he has not reached that 50-year-old threshold to his first colonoscopy. If he had, he would have spent a lot more time looking for a better name for the pre-procedure medication.

If you’ve had the procedure, you know there’s really nothing to it. They wheel you into the procedure room on a stretcher, you meet your doctor & some very nice nurses & then you wake up back in your room. The only evidence there is of the procedure you’ve just had that rudely invaded your colon is an abdomen full of what has to be helium. At the point of waking, if you went with your inhibitions you would surely allow yourself to float right up to the ceiling. All that helium soon dissipates, though, gets a lot heavier & turns into an embarrassing pocket of gas that will clear a room. Well, it’s actually more like a duffle bag full of gas or maybe a Victorian trunk. Suffice it to say, it’s a lot.

But there’s nothing at all to the procedure. You blissfully sleep through it. All those awful predictors of gloom, doom & a fate worse than death were wrong. The actual colonoscopy is a piece of cake. What ISN’T a piece of cake is that bowel prep you take the day before the procedure that has been so inadequately named.

They suggest you mix it or chase it with apple juice or ginger ale to make it more palatable (depending on which prep you’ve been given). If you have the kind that goes down easier with juice or ginger ale, pick a juice or beverage you don’t like very much to begin with because later in your life you will NEVER be able to drink apple juice or ginger ale again without the taste being a grim reminder.

You take the MoviPrep or GoLytely in stages … a measured amount at specific times of the day before the procedure & first thing in the morning of the procedure. By first thing the morning of the procedure you no longer find anything amusing about the name of the prep & would eagerly strangle the person who named it that ridiculous name if you could get your hands around his neck. The prospect of exerting the amount of pressure necessary to bring down your prey, however, brings into play the possibility of a GoLytely incident of epic proportions & you decide to simply shoot him if you happen to have access to a firearm when you find out who he is. Daydreaming about this revenge is possibly what gets you through “Prep Day” & the following morning.

So back to the sadist responsible for naming something that does NOT go lightly, GoLytely. I think he must have been traumatized as a child. Somehow he has become friends with someone, also of the pre-50 age group, who was also traumatized in childhood & later named that other bowel prep MoviPrep.  He apparently escaped from his childhood trauma by slipping away to spend hours at the local theater’s  afternoon matinee. They have collaborated … not on the ingredients of the bowel preps but on the names. Maybe because of their coincidental trauma-filled backgrounds they are simply attempting to bring some levity into an otherwise humorless situation &, for that, I suppose we should thank them.

If we are able to laugh at the wicked things that crop up in our lives, we are half way to being able to tolerate them. We learn this as we travel through life, meeting adversity & dealing with it. We are reminded of it as we reach 50 & are handed our first 90 gallon jug of GoLytely or MoviPrep.

In the end (pun intended), colonoscopies save lives, so gird up your loins & wash down that GoLytely.  The guy who named it is hoping you have a day filled with laughter.




Lightweight Cat Litter & Things that go Bump in the Night

9 Feb

Just when I’m getting use to tubeless toilet paper rolls, what happens? Along comes Lightweight Cat Litter.

I’ve been feeling really good about standing up & taking my place at the plate among those millions of toilet paper users who have opted out of rolls with tubes & gone exclusively to the tubeless kind … not to be confused with tubeless tires, for goodness sake. Those two kinds of “tubeless” take care of VERY different functions; one out on the highway & the other in the privacy of your own home. Although I guess they COULD be used interchangeably, I can’t imagine the position you’d have to assume to use one for the other or to “dress out” your car with the smaller of the two & expect it to be the ride of a lifetime. Suffice it to say, I’ve just been happy to be doing my part to save our trees, national forests & the Empire State Building.

We have a cat. He’s 18 this year & still very active. He’s a 15 pound Himalayan (he lost a pound last year) & has very long fur. He is a faithful user of his litter box & seldom misses. Last year, probably due to his age, he started using the same spot over & over all day long to empty his bladder, resulting in what I told my husband are “iceberg chunks” in the clumpable litter.  You see the small dark spot on the surface but underneath is an unbelievably huge chunk of wet, clumped litter of Titanic proportions. It’s easy to clean because it’s only in one spot but sometimes it’s so heavy you really have to DIG to get it out … & we are religious litter cleaners. We catch kitty waste almost as it’s dropping out of the cat. But for those times when we don’t, we get iceberg clumps.

Something else very interesting started happening last year at about the same time our Max started making “iceberg” litter clumps. He started presenting us with cat litter art. No joke! It would take me a very long time to make up something like that so you can take this as gospel. By emptying his bladder in the same spot, the dark spots on the litter surface sometimes take on shapes & sometimes those shapes are recognizable.

Last spring when we got home after a weekend trip, our Max peed a heart in his litter for us. That was his first piece of “litter art” & I interpreted it to mean that he was very glad that we were home & he loved us. Later he peed a man in a space suit, complete with helmet. Being a Facebook user, I posted these two pieces of “litter art” & was surprised to find that other people had cats who were litter artists, too. I can verify this because they sent me pictures of THEIR cats litter art. We’re thinking about opening a gallery.

We use clumpable Tidy Cat. Whoever invented the clumpable stuff deserves a medal or at the very least a banquet at a very upscale restaurant. The stuff has revolutionized the use of cat litter & made those of us who drew the short straw & are the “custodians of the litter,” very happy.

But no litter is completely without its drawbacks. Heck, even teaching your cat to use your commode is not without a problem or two… like an occasional wet spot on the seat or that “forgetting to flush” thing. Our problem with litter is that it sticks to Max’s very long fur & falls off on our dark hardwood floors, making vacuuming almost a daily necessity & sometimes he pees on his foot, but I think I’ve mentioned that in a previous post. But we deal because we love the cat, it’s too late to train him to use the toilet & the litter has become a canvas for his remarkable art.

So recently I turned on the TV just in time for a Tidy Cat Commercial advertising Lightweight Tidy Cat. What will they think of NEXT??? There is a woman in this commercial that picks up what looks like a 60 pound container of cat litter & easily tosses it out the window, across her clothesline, the full length of her backyard into the hands of an eager neighbor just waiting to try the stuff herself. It’s a MIRACLE! Just dragging in a 10 pound container of litter to replenish Max’s box damn near gives me a hernia & here … on TV … are two women accomplished at the “cat litter shot put” & neither of them have bulging biceps, rock hard abs or shortness of breath. It’s amazing!!!

On the lightweight litter container it says it is filled with 8.5 pounds of litter. Does that mean that what is really in there is actually the equivalent of 17 pounds of litter when actually used in the box or as a canvas for an unexpected work of art? Will this lightweight stuff cling with more tenacity to our long-haired Max &, if I purchase it, will I be vacuuming twice a day? Will Max even use it? Will it compromise the quality of his art???

All these questions & a few more have made me just keep on with the regular Tidy Cat that has worked so well through all of Max’s 18 years on this earth.

Like Max, I’m getting older & just believe that old saying we’ve heard for years – “If  it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” So I won’t.

And if anyone is interested in “litter art,” we’re planning a show this spring if we can just find a gallery that will have us.

Tidy Cat Lightweight


Being Blonde and the Groundhog

1 Feb

Our minister’s sermon was one in a series of several on “forgiveness.” His intention was to begin with a joke & he asked if anyone was offended by blonde jokes?  I immediately raised my hand to a ripple of good natured laughter from the congregation, so I followed that physical gesture by asking if he could make it a red head joke instead. More laughter & then he told the joke making reference to many hair colors & not just blonde. In the end, hair color was not a key element in advancing the joke… but intellect was.

It made me wonder why having blonde hair often made one the butt of jokes centering on intellectual “lack of abundance …”

As long as I can remember there has been a connection between blonde hair & bimbo-ness. I think it harks back to movies from the 30s, 40s & 50s. Suddenly the “Bottled Blonde” burst onto the Hollywood scene during that era. A “Bottled Blonde” was someone whose naturally dark hair was bleached to distraction & to the point of being platinum.  Naturally occurring platinum hair is a rarity seldom found in nature & primarily in very young children & those sharing a genetic affliction.

The Hollywood blonde somehow became associated with those buxom, overly bleached starlets who seemed to need not even a shred of basic intelligence in order to be the headliner in a movie; hence the bimbo & the connection to normally blonde people with normal intellect.

This is just my take on the whole thing, though. I haven’t really researched the phenomenon & had given it very little consideration until the advent of “Blonde Jokes,” which mostly don’t offend me. I’ve found them tedious but not really personal. I’ve known where I was coming from intellectually so our minister got a laugh in church from me along with the rest of those at the service.

So what does it mean to be blonde? I don’t know. I’ve mostly never been anything else so I have no comparison. Well, that may not be entirely true. I experienced a bout of baldness following chemotherapy & for a matter of days had chocolate brown hair once due to a beautician’s error. But most of my life I’ve been blonde & had all those things associated with it like freckles, sunburn & nicknames like Cottontop & Towhead. But it never resulted in a lower IQ. At least I don’t think so.

When I started chemo in late 2008 I had a few grey hairs on either side of my head just above my ears. When my hair came back almost a year later, it came back whiter than any New England snowstorm in the middle of winter. It was such an unexpected & startling change that I went immediately to have my hair colored. The contrast was stark & too sudden to deal with.

Being an intellectually savvy blonde, I had saved my hair (actually saved it as it fell out) in a WalMart bag that I kept under the sink in the bathroom. When it came back “white & snow-like,” I took that WalMart bag to a beautician. I told her my story & asked NOT to be made younger or different but just to be made ME again; the way my friends & family KNEW me… & I knew myself. Several hours later she removed the towel from my head & all that blinding New England snow had been replaced by a chocolate color only Hershey could embrace. I was appalled.

When I complained that chocolate was not on my list of preferred hair colors the beautician told me I was very lucky to HAVE hair & that any attempt on her part to lighten it could possibly result in a startling resemblance to Bozo (the clown).  Clearly the beautician should NEVER have been allowed to work with anyone in crisis.

So I took my WalMart bag full of my real hair & went home; calling my husband on the phone from the driveway to tell him that I still didn’t look like me & to get braced because I was coming in. Being a very positive human being & a wise husband, his only remark was to tell me it was a very good haircut. We agreed, however, that if I bought a silver dress for an upcoming cocktail party I could WOW everyone there showing up as a Hershey Kiss.

During my chemo-induced baldness my hairdresser called to tell me she was retiring. She said, “I’m tired & you don’t have any hair so there’s no reason to keep working.”  The day I came home with chocolate hair I called her for advice. She gave me the name of a colorist who could work miracles & said that Debbie was the only person she knew who could straighten out my chocolate mess.

I called Debbie immediately & she said, “Honey, you come on down here with your chocolate hair & let me take a look at you.” She did & she was everything my former hairdresser said she would be … a worker of miracles with a little bit of bartender & psychiatrist tossed in for good measure…she colored, she listened & she calmed my distress. She looked into my WalMart bag & made my hair that color again & restored me to ME. To this day she is totally in charge of my hair & is a friend that I value. I will be grateful to her for the rest of my life.

So back to that previous question, “So what does it mean to be blonde?” I’ll add another I get quite a lot – “Do blondes really have more fun?”  To that I can give a definite answer …. It’s a lot more fun being blonde than being bald & anyone can let a few blonde jokes roll off their back.

I still like chocolate but always on my plate or in a candy wrapper or in a cup of hot ….. It’s just not something I want to see on my head.

I may have had a few more dates in high school, but only slightly more, or a few more opportunities along the way but I prefer to think all of that has been due to the person that I am, my drive to succeed, my appreciation of life & nothing to do with the color of my hair. But here’s another question to consider – are only blonde females considered bimbos or are blonde males also considered members of the Bimbo Clan?

Even with animals that become pets there seems to be some sort of prejudice. It’s a fact that golden & light haired dogs & cats are adopted from shelters many more times than their darker haired brothers & sisters. With cats that may be due in part to that old superstition that black cats are somehow bad luck but that doesn’t explain the preference for lighter haired dogs…..

…which leads me to Punxsutawney Phil.  Has there ever been a blonde groundhog?

If old Punxsutawney Phil is actually a blonde with a colorist on retainer & we buy into that “light hair – low intellect” myth, will that affect his judgment when he pokes his head out of his hole in the ground on Groundhog Day? Will being a bimbo groundhog lead him to make the wrong call & give us a kazillion more days of winter? Should we worry?????

Are all groundhogs chocolate colored? If they are, Punxsutawney Phil, & you’d like a change, have I got THE hairdresser for you …& for those other 364 days a year you, too, can be a blonde & have more fun ….